Nature Walk Therapy

 My son loves to tell stories. One of his favorite things to do is to go for a long walk and spend the entire time telling me a long, complex tale. His stories are all related and contain the same characters, whose identities I'm not allowed to divulge here because they are secret super heroes. He tells his stories in a series of episodes, with an occasional full-length movie. (Yes, he wants to go to film school!) And he can recall exactly what happened in each episode, even though there must be at least twenty of them now. My son has a very unique brain!

I am amazed by his stories but I confess, I am ill-matched to my child because I am not a great listener. My mind wanders when I am talked at a lot. (School was always a huge struggle for me!) But lately we have reached a compromise. He tells me his story while we walk in the state park adjacent to our neighborhood, and he stops the story whenever we see something special. And fortunately for my tired ears, we have seen many special things lately!

Our walk takes us through a field, some woods, and down this path to the coast. Then we cross a beach and head to the monarch butterfly grove, where many monarchs cluster during the winter. Then we head back through the field and home. 

Here is our path to the beach.

The beach with a natural bridge in the water.

Here are some of the creatures we've met. My apologies that the photos are a bit blurry!  I took them with my old iPhone.

My son watching an egret near the beach.

Great blue heron looking for supper.

White heron, just hanging out.

We also saw a great horned owl! It was perched near the road through the park, so close to us, but still perfectly camouflaged. In the photo below, it's the grey blurry blob on top of the branch. You can see how it's the exact same color as the wood around it. There are two owls that have been living in this canyon for several years now, but we rarely get to see them, they're so good at hiding.

The blurry Great Horned Owl. I am looking forward to a phone upgrade and a better camera! 

I don't have photos of them, but we've met lots of deer, crows, squirrels, wild turkeys, bunnies, woodpeckers and even a few gopher snakes. 

Gopher snake crossing our path.

These nature walks have become a kind of therapy for both of us. I get to look at the beautiful scenery and hunt for animals, which eases my mind in these stressful times. My son gets to tell the stories that mean so much to him. And I'm a bit better at listening, now that I get to have my wildlife breaks. 

We'll be heading back to the park later today. I'm hoping for a better look at the owl, and I'd love to spot one of the coyotes I heard yapping away late last night. And I know the next superhero episode will be epic. My son has promised me aliens this time.


Claire McEwen

Rescuing the Rancher

She’ll help protect his ranch…   And heal his heart

Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire’s path, but Aidan Bell isn’t moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals. Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel the spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles…but can they leave the past’s ashes behind and let love grow?

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  1. It was therapy for me just looking at these photos and reading about your walk, Claire! You're very lucky to have all this so close to where you live. I predict a writing future of some kind for your son! :)

  2. What wonderful in pictures! Thanks for sharing your special finds.

  3. Wow--what fabulous photos and a charming story about you and your son!

  4. What a wonderful gift your son has. Love the photos.


  5. Storytelling runs in the family! I love being outdoors, too. It's so restoring. That's one of the reasons I enjoy gardening so much, but being out in the woods, or by a meadow or lake or on a mountain is the best.

  6. What an adventure for you both right out the door! I loved all the photos and the best is the enthusiasm your son has for his story-telling. I'm quite interested in his alien stories.


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